Arts and Oscar Wilde’s "The Picture of Dorian Gray"

Essay Sample on Arts and Oscar Wilde’s "The Picture of Dorian Gray"

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The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde’s most renowned novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, begins with a small set of so-called paradoxes. These paradoxes are merely astute and witty reflections on the essence of arts, graphomania, and morale, as well as the nature of the beautiful and artist’s purpose (Wilde).

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Oscar Wilde’s conception of producing and consuming art has a lot in common with the claims made by Paul Klee and Pablo Picasso in their artistic works. Generally, Oscar Wilde’s novel and the paintings Fairy Tale of the Dwarf by Paul Klee and Guernica by Pablo Picasso address the same artistic and philosophical problems. The statement can be proved by formal peculiarities of Klee’s piece, as well as by thematic frameworks and implied meanings of Picasso’s work.

Paul Klee

Paul Klee believed that art’s purpose is not to imitate things, but to help the audience to see those things. This principle can be supported by Klee’s watercolor drawing titled Fairy Tale of the Dwarf. Judging from the title of the painting, its subject is mythological. Metaphorically, the work of art gives insight to the mythology of the British Isles. The drawing depicts a dwarf hole with a dwarf in it and, presumably, a cat to his right (Klee). The entrance to the dwarf hole is round, resembling the contours of the letter ‘O’. All objects are blurred, while styled contours of clover are barely discernible, alike the shapes of pentagons, rhombuses, triangles, and rectangles. The source of light is not depicted, though dark greenish-gray, orange, yellow, and reddish colors prevail. Contours and, partly, fill make the objects observable. The brushwork is neat and precise, yet deliberately primitive.

Clearly, the painter in his work refers to the world of fantasy, meaning the painter attempts to depicts something more than exists within the boundaries of the material world. At the same time, one can learn a lot from the painter’s conception of the object and creatures unseen. Somehow, the painting Fairy Tale of the Dwarf by Paul Klee resembles the African and/or South American ancient cave paintings. The author’s attempt is to extract the quintessence of the world’s fine arts’ history and, by so doing, to illustrate how people’s beliefs have changed. Particularly, the author may be contemplating on what has become of those beliefs and what mankind has done to the nature as a source of faith, mythology, and knowledge of the world. This resonates with the ideas expressed in The Picture of Dorian Gray, where the painter creates a portrait which demonstrates the changes happening with the protagonist and consequently collects his soul. In both works, the art is shown as a reflection of history and development of people. Similarity between Klee’s piece and Wilde’s novel also manifests itself through the way both artists understand beauty. But most importantly, Oscar Wilde and Paul Klee admit the importance of conveying a message implicitly, thus, provoking thinking in a reader.

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso presumed that art can be characterized as a delusive tool employed to get at the truth. In other words, art is a blunder mediating the verity. The World War I is one of the greatest calamities of the 20th century, which has become the motive for the one of Pablo Picasso’s most magnificent works, Guernica. Pablo Picasso strongly condemned the bombardments of Basques’ settlements. Hence, the master created Guernica as a reminder that evil must be suppressed. Guernica by Pablo Picasso is a sample of surrealist painting performed in a deliberately non-realistic manner. The paintings depict the fragments of human and animal bodies. The piece is monumental in a sense that the artist seemingly attempts to capture a moment. Horror, terror, destruction, and decay can be viewed as the motives of Picasso’s Guernica. Though surrealistic manner presupposes non-realistic depiction, the work itself proves truthful in a sense that the message the artists is attempting to convey is relatable to his people, his country, and the epoch itself.

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The artist try to express that mankind should never forget its past. At the same time, it has to be purified to get its strengths back and keep the evil at bay. Respect and dignified treatment of nature and all life may be the adequate options in this regard. Therefore, the similarity between Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and Pablo Picasso’s Guernica manifests itself though the way both artists understand the purpose of producing art and the ethics of consuming it. Both artists see art as a mirror which reflects the current state of the world. Guernica which addresses the themes of war and terror is similar to the portrait of Dorian, demonstrating his true nature. Moreover, the ways Wilde and Picasso apprehend the purpose of artist have very much in common.


In conclusion, analyzed works demonstrate the true nature of the art and the artist, as well as address the goals of art.

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